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What determines masculinity or feminity in Spanish?

What determines masculinity or feminity in Spanish? Is it applied to all nouns or verbs or adjectives or what? I realize that most words, but not all, feminine/masculine words end in a/o and those that don't follow normalcy have to be memorized, but I am confused as to what it is that makes it normally feminine or masculine.

Question asked on June 1, 2008 at 6:17 AM

Why Do I say 'el alma' if 'alma' is a feminine word?

Category: Spanish Gender

Grammar Genius,

Why do some words like ´agua´ and ´alma´ become masculine in their singular form? How do I know which words follow this rule?

Question asked April 9, 2008 at 09:05 AM

What words "trigger" the use of the subjunctive?

What are "trigger" words for subjunctive? I know that you ALWAYS use subjunctive after certain triggers (i.e. para que). Do I use subjuntive after despues de que?

Question asked on February 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM

QuƊ or cuol : which is what?

My teacher explained que and cual to us, but I still am very confused. What are the differences? Please help!

Question asked on January 18, 2008 at 10:27 AM

When does one write an accent on demonstratives 'demonstrativos' (éste, Ɗse, aquƊl)?

What is the difference between the demostratives with an accent and without an accent? When do I use the one with the accent?

Question asked on December 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM

Does the verb 'recomendar' require the use of the subjunctive in the dependent clause?

Does the verb "recomendar" require the use of the subjuntive in the dependent clause? For ex., "Recomendamos que busque tratamiento dental para su hijo/hija." Or should I use "busca"?

Question asked on December 18, 2007 at 7:12 PM

Tu or tú: when do you put the accent on the 'u'?

What is the difference between "Tu" with and accent mark on the "u" and "Tu" without an accent mark at all, and how do you know which to write in a situation?

Question asked on December 9, 2007 at 6:00 PM

What is the difference between ese and aquel?

What is the difference between " ese " and "aquel"? I asked spanish people but they dont know how to answer in english...
I hope you will. (please keep it basic). thx.

Question asked on November 29, 2007 at 4:10 AM

For Spanish Speakers, what is the the hardest part about learning English?

Category: Random

What is the hardest part of speech for Spanish speakers to learn when learning English, and why?

Question asked on November 19, 2007 at 8:05 PM


How does the Spanish subjunctive work after verbs of knowing or believing (dudar, saber, pensar, etc.)?

Does "nunca dudaba que" take the imperfect subjunctive or no? I've seen examples of both.

Question asked on November 8, 2007 at 3:48 PM

How does the Spanish future tense differ from the English future tense ?

Could you review the various ways of expressing the future tense (hablaré, voy a hablar, he de hablar). Also, can you explain when I use habra + participio? Is this the same as the future perfect in English?

Question asked on October 24, 2007 at 6:17 AM

Do interrogative words (que, cual, quien) take an accent when they are not used in questions ?

Can you put an accent on the word qué or quién when you use these in the middle of a sentence?
Example: No supe qué le ocurrió or would you say No supe que le ocurrió? What is the rule?

Question asked on October 11, 2007 at 6:23 PM

When do I use the subjunctive in place of the infinitive?

Do I need to use the subjunctive after Poder+verb? For example: El sistema le puede ayudar valora... Or do I need to use the infinitive? El sistema le puede ayudar valorar...

Question asked on September 26, 2007 at 1:37 AM

Why do Spanish speakers sometimes use le for lo (leísmo)?

I saw a sentence

¿Y a qué le llamas hacer una tontería?

and I do not understand how it could be an indirect object.
Is it possible that it is le used instead of lo ( I think
they call it leísmo)?


Question asked on September 20, 2007 at 4:41 PM

How do I conjugate osero and oestaro in the passive voice ?

Can I conjugate the passive voice in any tense other than the present?

Question asked on September 14, 2007 at 11:56 AM

How do I use 'ser' and 'estar' in the passive voice?

The passive voice has got me tied up in knots. My professor's site said that estar + participle needs to be used in certain cases, but I couldn't understand those cases. Does it follow the same rules as ser vs estar in the indicative?

Question asked on September 14, 2007 at 11:56 AM

What is the difference between the impersonal 'se' and the passive 'se'?

Category: Passive Voice

My all-spanish workbook refers to ser + particple as the formal technique. It also mentions two other The first is called 'se' en frase pasiva. There's also a section for a 'se' impersonal where it's se + verb in just 3rd person singular, and I can't for the life of me tell what the difference is between these 2 se + verb options?

Question asked on September 14, 2007 at 11:56 AM

Can the future and conditional tense be used instead of the Spanish subjunctive?

Can you explain the rules for using the future and conditional tenses in place of the subjunctive. For example, I have seen "Quizás sea simpático pero no me gusta.¨ And, someone told me that the sentence ¨Será simpático pero no me gusta¨ means the same thing. Thanks for the help!

Question asked on September 12, 2007 at 7:06 AM

How do I use the subjunctive after negative statements?

Grammar Genius,

I am a little confused about how to use the subjunctive after negative statements such as "nadie, nunca, etc." Why do I use the subjunctive in "Nunca haré lo que me mandaran si no me dan alguan razón para ello,¨ (I will never do what they ordered me to do if they do not give me a reason for it) if doubt is not involved in the sentence?

Question asked on September 9, 2007 at 6:14 PM

How do I use the subjunctive to describe the unspecific?

I have seen the Spanish Subjunctive used to describe things that I am looking for. For example, ¨Busco un libro que sea bueno¨ and ¨Quiero encontrar un médico que especialice en rodillas.¨ Could you give some more examples and clearly explain the rule?

Question asked on September 8, 2007 at 3:04 PM

Can 'ser' be used to describe what seems to be a temporary condition or state ?

Category: Ser vs Estar

I understand that 'ser' is used to describe permanent states or qualities while 'estar' is used to describe temporary conditions. But, I've seen 'ser' used in situations that seem to be conditions. For example, 'ella es feliz.' Could you go over this grey area? It would be greatly appreciated.

Question asked on September 4, 2007 at 5:54 AM

Does 'esperar que' always take the subjunctive?

I saw the sentence  "Espero que llega a tiempo" and I was wondering why it did not take the subjunctive ("Espero que llegue a tiempo").

Question asked on September 2, 2007 at 1:36 AM

Do I need to use the subjunctive to translate whatever, however, or whether?

Grammar Genius,

Someone told me that I need to use the subjunctive to translate whatever or however. For example, how would I translate "I am going to the beach whether you come or not?"

Question asked on August 27, 2007 at 10:12 PM

Does 'estuve bueno' and'fue bueno' mean the same thing? When are ser and estar interchangable?

Category: Ser vs. Estar

I have heard Spanish speakers say both 'estuvo bonito' and 'fue bonito' to describe an experience or day. Are they both correct? If so, could you give other examples of when ser and estar are interchangable?

Question asked on August 30, 2007 at 12:42 PM

Do I need to use the subjunctive to translate whatever, however, or whether?

Grammar Genius,

Someone told me that I need to use the subjunctive to translate whatever or however. For example, how would I translate "I am going to the beach whether you come or not?"

Question asked on August 27, 2007 at 10:12 PM

Why do spanish speakers use the present tense to refer to a future event?

Grammar Genius,

Is ¨le llamo mañana¨correct? Or, "nos estamos en contacto"? Why do I use the present tense to refer to the future?

Question asked on August 23, 2007 at 07:49 AM

How do I use cuando with the subjunctive?

Grammar Genius,

Why do I say ¨Cuando vuelve¨ if there isn´t any doubt about my returning?

Question asked on August 19, 2007 at 07:31 AM

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I made the double mistake of saying es trienta y cinco when refering to my friend's age and everyone burst out laughing. I found out that in Costa Rica, es trienta y cinco means you are crazy.

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